Tomorrow, Halloween, is the third anniversary of the day my life changed, the day I got nerve damage in my foot. Although it's been really difficult on a multitude of levels, I have come out of it a better person.
I have a new empathy for the disabled. I notice when handicapped parking spaces are not near the front door or when there simply aren't enough (my kids notice too).
I have experienced the thing where people are invariably kind and generous when you hobble on a cane, but not so much when you don't. I wasn't aware people were so kind until I got hurt. People open doors. Clerks offer to carry your bags. People invariably say, "Have a great day," and smile at you. Now I try to be as kind to everyone as people were to me when I walked with a cane.
I have developed friendships with elderly people in my neighborhood who come to me to compare experiences at different medical facilities and with various doctors and procedures. I'm only 44, so it's kind of funny that older people in the neighborhood wave to me and ask how my foot is holding up or come over to find out what ortho guy or neurosurgeon I used. I have learned to listen better when people want to talk about their medical problems. It helps when people really listen.
I am very aware of how much my immediate family has given up for me over the last three years. My husband has done virtually all of the grocery shopping and a good deal of the cleaning and yard work. Ironically, he hates yard work, and I love it but can't do it. We've taken a pass on vacations and outings - and the ones we have done have kind of sucked because of me. The worst thing is I haven't been able to carry my baby since he turned one.
One blessing that came out of my injury is that I started writing fiction. I always wanted to write but never trusted that I could do it and never allowed myself to slow down for long enough to try. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am that life slowed me down.
Another blessing is that I met all of you in the process.
Even though the worst of it is behind me (Please, God, let the worst of it be behind me), I don't want to forget one thing. Every step I take is a miracle. It always was. I just didn't notice until it was taken away.
BTW, I'm thinking about all of you on the east coast. I was hoping I would see a lot of posts this morning that everyone was doing well, but I didn't see any at all. I know it sucks, but I hope you're able to find something good in it.